MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte's successor "should have the brains" to solve the lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the first Speaker of the House of Representatives under the Duterte administration said Wednesday.
The pandemic, which has left millions jobless and dragged the economy into recession, will be felt until the next administration, said former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
"‘Pag pumili tayo ng susunod na Pangulo, kailangan may utak kasi iyong mamanahing problema ng susunod na Pangulo napakalaki," he told ANC.
(When we choose our next President, it should be someone with brains because the problem he or she will inherit is massive.)
"Iyong sinasabi kong utak, may kakayahan na mamuno sa ating bansa, iyong leadership quality... Hindi iyong pa-selfie-selfie lang, pa-post-post sa Facebook para maging popular," he added.
(When I say someone with brains, I mean someone who can lead the country--not someone who just takes selfies and posts them on Facebook so they could be popular.)
Duterte's former long-time aide, Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go, is known for his selfies with world leaders.
Asked if his remark was directed at Go, Alvarez said, "Wala akong pinapanigan dito. Wala akong pinatatamaan na tao."
(I am not siding with anyone here, I am not hitting anyone.)
Earlier in the interview, the Congress representative of Davao Del Norte said the government's pandemic response was "a failure."
Alvarez also said he did no agree with the "out of tune" pandemic suggestions of Vice President Leni Robredo. He did not elaborate why.
Instead, he said the public should educate fellow voters on the importance of electing good leaders.
"Gusto mo ng matinong pamahalaan? Umpisahan natin ngayon. Huwag nating hintayin na mag-file sila ng certificate of candidacy," said Alvarez.
(You want an efficient government? Let's start now. Don't wait for politicians to file their certificate of candidacy.)
Alvarez was ousted from the Speakership in 2018, in a move said to be orchestrated by the President's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
-- With a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News